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Dec 19, 2019

Healthy Living: Healthy Holiday Eating

The Christmas countdown has begun. In less than a week, we’ll all be indulging in the Christmas merriment, which includes lots of deliciously rich food. Christmas is surely no time for a diet, but it doesn’t mean you have to pack on extra pounds. In tonight’s Healthy Living, we get some practical tips from a professional on how to enjoy our Christmas meal and avoid weight gain. 


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

A good Belizean Christmas dinner will have a healthy serving of rice and beans, baked turkey; pineapple glazed ham, potato salad, stuffing, some cranberry – or even fried plantain. It’s a combination of flavour that is synonymous with the season. It’s also loaded with calories. 


Doris Sutherland

Doris Sutherland, Nutritionist, Belize Healthcare Partners

“We’re talking about up to three thousand calories if you include the full meal, including a dessert, the full meal, and a soft drink.”


That means that just that one meal could almost double your entire caloric intake for the day. This doesn’t mean you have to skip Christmas lunch to be healthy, though. Nutritionist, Doris Sutherland, offers some helpful tips to survive the holiday meals.


One: Don’t skip meals


Doris Sutherland

“Most people would average to that three thousand when they skip meals throughout the day because we tend to want to save the calories for later on. Then this tends to backfire because instead of saving the calories, we tend to eat a lot more. The longer we go without eating, the more our appetite increases, the more our hunger level increases, and the more our appetite shifts towards starchy food and sugary foods.”


Two: Don’t plan for a January Diet


Doris Sutherland

“You don’t want to plan to go on a diet immediately after. Because the minute we plan to go on a diet after this gives us or allow us to eat a lot more during this time. So maybe if you start cutting down your portions from today. Then it’s not going to be too difficult when you’re actually in the time to lose the weight. Do not plan it. Start to make the changes now.”


Three: Pay attention to portions


Doris Sutherland

“How much do you serve? When it comes to portion sizes, you always want to go for the leaner parts of the meat. The good thing is that turkey is considered lean meat, and it is a good source of protein that you can serve on your plate. You may want to go slow on the starch, meaning that you don’t want to overdo on the portions of rice or the portions of potatoes or bread. You always want to include a serving salad in your meal and even start with that serving of salad. Ham tends to be a bit more on the unhealthy side, but you can still the ham just try to trim the fat from it before you have it.   What concerns me the most about the meal is not that you are having your Christmas dinner but that you repeat too often. Meaning that sometimes you won’t eat it just one time but you will end up eating the same portions and the same type of food for the rest of the year and studies have found that when you’re having a high caloric meal for a repetitive amount of time for up to one or two weeks, you can easily gain between 5 to ten pounds.”


Sutherland suggests making healthier meals with the leftovers so as not to repeat the calorie-heavy Christmas meal. So, there is no need to be hard on yourself about your Christmas lunch or dinner. As long as you get back on track right after.


Doris Sutherland

“One night will not affect your weight or your dietary habits, but if you continue with the same habit, you can make you easily fall off track.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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